For 63 years of service...

Ann Merritt accepts the CSAF Award for Exceptional Public Service on behalf of her late husband, retired Col. Walter A. Merritt, from AETC commander Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz during the AETC Symposium in San Antonio Jan. 15. Colonel Merritt is the only the second recipient of the award, which was established in 2007 to recognize individuals or organizations, not employed by the Air Force or Department of Defense, who embody dedication, patriotism and personal sacrifice which result in significant contributions to the Air Force. The citation for the award reads, in part: During his 28 years as an instructor, Colonel Merritt fully dedicated himself to supporting the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps’ mission of “Building Better Citizens of Character Dedicated to Serving Their Nation and Community” by teaching high school students aerospace science education, leadership skills, and Air Force core values. Colonel Merritt positively impacted over 5,100 cadets in the support of thousands of local veterans, military members stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and other island residents through service projects such as Special Olympics, coastal clean-up campaigns, teen drug and alcohol awareness programs, Veteran’s Day and Memorial ceremonies, Guam Liberation Day observances, and Catholic Services food drives. Colonel Merritt, a Smith Station, Ala., native, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 at the age of 17 and retired from the Air Force in 1979 after 35 years of service. He was a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. After retiring from the Air Force, he agreed to temporarily teach Air Force Junior ROTC on Guam in 1980. Colonel Merritt retired from teaching Aug 2008, ending more than 63 years of service to the Air Force. Colonel Merritt died Oct. 20, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo

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